Does your dog understand what behavior you wish her to perform when you use verbal cues alone, with absolutely no hand gestures or suggestive body language? In many cases, the body-language picture we present to our dogs tells them as much – or more – about what we expect them to do as our verbal cues do.
The fact is, feeding the same type of products from the same company year in and year out is putting your dog’s health solely in that company’s hands. There isn’t any single company I would trust my entire lifetime of nutrition to; why do we expect this from any pet food company for our dogs?
Nova’s placement is a win for Whole Dog Journal, since she’s a smart, well-behaved dog and her mom’s proximity and training acuity means they can model and demonstrate for articles in the magazine, often, I hope! Working with them has definitely been one of the highlights of putting this issue together.
In the most severe cases, dogs can develop anaphylactic shock. In canines, the shock organ is the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (in contrast to cats and humans, in which it is the lungs). Dogs in anaphylactic shock do not necessarily develop difficulty breathing. They are much more likely to develop sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse. The diarrhea and vomit can both be extremely bloody, in some cases.
To me, the benefits of off-leash walks in this area are worth the risks - but I also work hard to make sure my dogs have razor-sharp recalls, that they respond to "OFF!" by halting or turning away from whatever has piqued their interest, and that they will sit down immediately on cue and stay put until I release them with another cue. We practice each of these behaviors every single time we walk out there, and I bring high-value treats (and Woody's favorite squeak ball) to reward them richly for their cooperation.
By the 2010s, the marketing of pet foods had completely transformed from "We're veterinarians (alternately, professional breeders of show dogs); trust us to know what's good for your dog!" to "Doesn't this look and sound oh-so delicious and healthy?"
Dogs who quickly and willingly get into a crate save critical minutes in an extreme emergency evacuation. In some cases during the evacuation from the tragic Camp Fire, which started on November 8 near my town and burned for weeks, killing at least 88 people and countless animals, minutes made the difference between survival and death.
Our dogs depend on our ability to train them and to take appropriate and effective action if they develop behaviors that are in conflict with the home, schedule, and family we have imposed on them. If we fail to succeed in our new roles as amateur dog trainers and their behavior becomes problematic for our family, or neighbors, or the dog they just met at the park, they could lose their homes or even their lives.
I have had friends say to me, "You are so lucky to have this space to hike in, and so lucky to have such good dogs!" I know what they mean, but luck has nothing to do with it. I moved here mostly to be closer to my father in his last year of life and didn't think I would stay here after he passed away. But I ended up falling in love with the trails and open spaces, and have stayed a dozen years now.
In decades past, before we as a culture became more responsible about keeping our dogs safe at home, a fenced yard was a relatively rare phenomenon. The family dog was often allowed to roam the neighborhood and interact freely with other neighborhood dogs and humans. In general, they were better socialized and fence aggression was uncommon. Of course, dogs also routinely got hit by cars, shot, poisoned, and just plain disappeared. I am certainly not advocating going back to the days of free-roaming dogs just to avoid fence-fighting! But we do need to look for better ways to keep dogs contained in order to avoid concomitant unwanted behaviors.